When it comes to Williamsburg’s downtown development, there is some bad news and there is some good news.
Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison noted during the recent monthly city council meeting that several businesses were getting close to opening when the COVID-19 shutdown hit in mid-March, including The Butcher’s Pub restaurant and the University of the Cumberlands’ Marketplace on Main & 3rd, which is set to house Moonbow Mercantile, Moonlight Meat Shop and Cumberland River Coffee.
The good news is that those openings weren’t canceled, but instead just delayed.
“Right now, everybody that was planning to come is still planning to come,” Harrison told the council.
When restaurants are allowed to start re-opening at 30 percent capacity on May 22, Harrison said he expects several local restaurants to resume in-person dining, including: Torres, El Dorados, and The Brick Oven.
He said that he hasn’t heard from Huddle House yet.
The Butcher’s Pub had initially planned to open its bar first in time for St. Patrick’s Day, and then open the restaurant later, but things got delayed due to the pandemic.
Harrison said The Butcher’s Pub is now working to get its kitchen ready, and may be ready to fully open when restaurants are allowed to resume in-person dining.
He also gave an update about the reopening schedule for businesses, which the governor has laid out.
“The big deal is they are starting to ask everyone to wear a mask,” Harrison said adding the city isn’t going to try and tell people that they have to wear masks.
“It is probably not legal to force it,” he added noting people would be asked to wear masks when going into businesses.
Churches are now allowed to hold in-person services thanks to a court order, but city officials noted that those services are going to look different than they did prior to COVID-19, including social distancing, no singing, and no bulletins.
“They want to discourage the elderly from coming,” noted Councilwoman Erica Harris. “Life is going to be different.”